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Rabanus Maurus

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Rabanus Maurus had been born about 780 A.D. He entered young at the abbey of Fulda and became a monk. In 802 he went to Tours and became a student to Alcuin. It was Alcuin who gave him his surname of Maurus (Maurus was the favourite disciple of St. Benedict). Recalled at Fulda to be teacher at the abbey's school, he eventually became headmaster of it. The full development of the school could not take place until 818 however as the abbot at that time was better inclined to architecture than to learning. The next abbot, Eigil (818-822), who had been master of Maurus was much more easy to the school work. Raban Maurus eventually became himself abbot of Fulda in 822 A.D. succeeding to Eigil. Not only did he continued the enrichment of the abbey as a building and a temporal institution, and his development as a ecclesiastical center, but the Fulda school became the most famous center of learning of the Frankish empire. The school library produced numerous manuscripts which were aimed at bringing Church and classical works to the Germans. German was teached at the abbey's school. Rabanus Maurus as he was taken into the struggles occurring between emperor Louis the Pious and his sons, and between the sons themselves, had to resign in 842. He eventually was designated archbishop of Mainz in 847. He died by 856 A.D. Rabanus' advocacy of the use of the vernacular tongue, earned the title of the 'Teacher of Germany'

Rabanus was very learned and his works extended to the diverse fields of knowledge of the time. As far as his secular works are concerned, the most famous was the 'De Universo,' a encyclopedic dictionary in 22 books, which may be related to the Etymologies of St Isidore. As the Venerable Bede also had done by the turn of the 8th century A.D., Raban Maur compiled the work of St Isidore, as he added too data which he had found in manuscripts, especially in Pliny the Elder's 'Naturalis Historia' or Solinus' 'Marvels,' who both were Latin encyclopedists. Raban Maur further added to such data about Nature a symbolic, religious and moral interpretation, or a 'moralisation,' as he associated a natural encyclopedia with biblical exegesis. Both Raban Maur and the Venerable Bede also took back St Isidore's etymologic method which was a Platonicist one, which consisted into that any given word is defining the thing it points to. Rabanus influenced the revival of learning in the schools of Solenhofen, Celle, Hirsfeld, Petersburg and Hirschau. Even Reichenau and St. Gall owed much to him

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